Bangkok: Thai police on Tuesday charged a
Swedish-Lebanese man, suspected of having links with the
Hezbollah militant group, with possession of a prohibited
substance, after they found a huge cache of materials used for
Atris Hussein has been charged with possession of a
prohibited chemical substance in violation of the arms control
law. The explosives were found in a building in Samut Sakhon
province near here yesterday.
Hussein was arrested on Thursday when he was leaving the
country at Suvarnabhumi international airport here. He had
used his Swedish passport to enter Thailand.
More than 200 policemen raided the three-storey
commercial building and found 4,380 kgs of urea-based
fertiliser and 290 litres of ammonium nitrate.
The police also discovered many pairs of slippers, A4
paper and 400 electric table fans.
The suspect had told police that explosive materials were
hidden there, police said.
Hussein reportedly told investigators that the materials
were not intended for use in any planned attack in Thailand.
The components were concealed inside boxes for shipping
to other countries, they said.
Police said that Hussein had rented the building for more
than a year and the materials had been hidden in the building
for quite some time.
Assistant police chief Charamporn Suramanee said that
possession of urea-based fertiliser was not against Thai laws,
but ammonium nitrate was a controlled chemical substance under
the Arms Control Act of 1987.
The penalty for possession of ammonium nitrate without
permission from the Defence Ministry is a five-year prison
term and a fine of 50,000 baht.
Hussein will remain in police custody and the national
police chief will make any ultimate decision on any possible
extradition and deportation.
Bangkok Post newspaper quoted unnamed sources at the
Immigration Bureau saying that the US wants to use Thailand as
a base to destroy terrorist networks.
The source said the arrest of the Lebanese-Swedish
suspect was at the behest of Israeli authorities.
Thailand could have revoked the suspect`s visa and
deported him straight away, but detained the him because the
US wanted him detained, the paper said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has urged
the United States to immediately revoke its terrorism warning
in light of Hussein`s arrest.
US embassy spokesman Walter Braunohler said the terrorist
warning for American citizens remains valid despite Hussein`s